Yet another image stolen from ‘schwienfurt und so.’ Hopefully Leinie’s won’t take us to court over this.
Did you miss out on the live interview I did with Alex and Flo yesterday? Do not despair faithful fans (i.e. the friends and family who read this because they feel sorry for me)! The whole thing has been posted up over at Schweinfurt Und So! Over 1 hour and 14 glorious minutes of pure awesome (and that doesn’t include the cunning hat). Be sure not to miss the part where I say ‘hi’ to my mom, or the part where I stumble along in heavily accented German and fail horribly to get my point across (basically the whole thing).
In all seriousness I had a fun time. Alex and Flo are excellent hosts (and serious beer drinkers) and there was great feedback from the listeners. So click the link, check it out and, if you are linguistically so inclined, I recommend becoming a regular listener.
P.S. So as not to allow it to appear as if this blog has become nothing more than a forum for shameless self-promotion (as if there is any other kind) I will return next week with some original content. Until then, try to behave yourselves.
Gross income inequality can cause a host of problems for a country. It inhibits social mobility, stymies the entrepreneurial spirit, and it ensures that the bulk of consumers on whom we rely to keep the economy moving lack the funds to meet many ends beyond those immediately related to their survival.
That the United States is terribly unequal (one of the most unequal of the developed nations) is no secret. But just how bad is it, really? The imbedded video provides a good video representation of the current state of wealth distribution in America.
2009 was a wild year in American politics. Fresh off of an election that was equal parts rejection of Bush-era policies and refusal to be force-fed Sarah Palin as a viable candidate for any public office, the American left celebrated. The American right, on the other hand, regrouped and reloaded.
Enter the Tea Party, loosely affiliated groups of conservative Americans who, through grassroots means, organized and banded together because they were upset over high taxes and the state of American debt. Bolstered by near daily coverage on Fox News and leveraging social media, the Tea Party movement spread like wild-fire. Local chapters and events popped up all over the country. The movement even helped the Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. The Tea Party is truly an example of a powerful, organic response by an electorate to the policies of the state.
Or is it? A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Tobacco Control uncovered connections between tobacco companies, large-scale lobbying operations run by the Koch brothers, and the Tea Party movement. From the article’s abstract:
Starting in the 1980s, tobacco companies worked to create the appearance of broad opposition to tobacco control policies by attempting to create a grassroots smokers’ rights movement. Simultaneously, they funded and worked through third-party groups, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy, the predecessor of AFP and FreedomWorks, to accomplish their economic and political agenda. There has been continuity of some key players, strategies and messages from these groups to Tea Party organisations. As of 2012, the Tea Party was beginning to spread internationally.
Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party has developed over time, in part through decades of work by the tobacco industry and other corporate interests. It is important for tobacco control advocates in the USA and internationally, to anticipate and counter Tea Party opposition to tobacco control policies and ensure that policymakers, the media and the public understand the longstanding connection between the tobacco industry, the Tea Party and its associated organisations.
The full article is accessible for a fee, but DESMOGBLOG.com has a good breakdown of it here.
MAJ Edward H. Carpenter, Executive Officer of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40 in Afghanistan, authored an article over at Duck Of Minerva yesterday. In it Carpenter breaks down what it takes to become a Marine Infantry Officer and explains why opening up the opportunity to female Marines is a good thing. Of particular interest is his description of the Combat Endurance Test:
[T]he officers are awake before 4 am, get dropped off in the middle of nowhere carrying rifle, a day pack, and a limited supply of food and water. Over the next 12 hours, the officers will be in near continuous motion, while being stressed out physically and mentally. They will swim, run, tread water, navigate with map and compass, perform pull-ups, push-ups, navigate an obstacle course, attempt to reassemble broken-down enemy weapons, and more. They will cover nearly twice as much ground as the enlisted infantryman does on his capstone exercise, the 20K endurance hike.
Read the whole article here.